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To keep them honest, Big Island wants to publish list of travelers who should be in quarantine

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 4:56 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 14, 2021 at 5:20 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth is asking the state if he can publish a list of travelers who are supposed to be in quarantine.

Roth, a former county prosecutor, says there’s not enough quarantine enforcement and he believes too many rule breakers are out in public ― potentially spreading COVID.

He said last month more than 100 people flew to Hawaii Island and had to quarantine because they couldn’t prove they were vaccinated or had a negative COVID test.

He’s skeptical that all 100 travelers quarantined for the full 10 days.

“A lot of the cases that we ended up getting are people coming back saying that they are going to be quarantining and they are out there in the public infecting others,” Roth said.

He says the list could be used by hotels, workplaces, the media and the community as a watchdog that reports to law enforcement.

“I see there is very little enforcement and most people don’t even know who’s supposed to be in quarantine,” he said.

Kawaikapuokalani Hewett, of the Hawaii Quarantine Kapu Breakers, said he supports the idea. “As long as we are working together in a good and positive way that’s going to benefit all of us,” he said.

In response to those who may be opposed to the idea, he added: “Freedom never stop you guys rushing to Costco and buying all the damn toilet paper to wipe your okoles.”

The ACLU of Hawaii said publishing the list does pose potential concerns.

“These include the inherent concerns about health privacy regardless of whether someone is demonstrably ill, concerns about possible vigilantism against people whose names appear on the list, concerns about violations of privacy stemming from such publication,” said Executive Director Joshua Wisch, adding that there are also general concerns about unintended consequences.

The governor said the proposal is being discussed with Roth and the state Attorney General’s Office.

He said the state has a name, phone number and place of quarantine and that investigators have been following up, but he calls it a “balancing act.”

“We’re trying to make sure that we don’t drive the quarantine breakers even further underground that would make it more difficult or that they would re-double their efforts to avoid quarantine,” he said.

Roth said the proposed quarantine list would not be identifying people in isolation or people who are sick with COVID and staying home.

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